Caring for Asiatic Lilies

By Emily Waterfield , last updated May 24, 2011

Asiatic lilies are the most popular within the lily family and are the perfect, easy to care for option for any garden type. The Asiatic hybrid comes in a variety of color combinations, such as pink, yellow, orange, red, and white, and is the hardiest of the hybrids. They will add beauty and a touch of the tropics to your yard or landscape design.

Asiatic lilies should be planted between mid September to mid October. They should be grouped in clusters of three to five bulbs for full effect, and each bulb should be spaced eight to twelve inches apart to accommodate the full size of each lily. Asiatic lilies that were originally purchased in containers can also be added to gardens at any point during the growing season. Make sure to plant Asiatic lilies in an area with full sun exposure, or else they will grow tall and thin, with wilting petals; aim for about six to eight hours of sunlight per day. Also make sure to avoid planting bulbs in a garden that routinely collects water; well-drained soil is the key to raising healthy Asiatic Lilies. Aside from standing water, these lilies are not very particular about the type of soil they are grown in.

Cover the asiatic lily blubs with a four inch thickness of straw, compost or woodchips, to ready it for winter. This will help keep the soil a steady temperature throughout the freeze and thaw period of the seasons. Asiatic lilies are much hardier than most, and can withstand the cold weather exponentially well.

When spring approaches, leave the bulbs covered in mulch until the threat of frost passes. Once the lilies begin to crop up, the mulch can be removed. Once they begin growing, Asiatic lilies require very little attention. The great thing about them is they require a minimum amount of maintenance. This variety of lily does not require frequent fertilization, however, they should be tended to every so often with a phosphorous-rich formula, such as 5-10-10. One application at the beginning of the spring should do the trick, and will provide the lilies with enough nutrients to thrive throughout the summer. Asiatic lilies also do not require frequent irrigation. Watering them once a week should be enough, unless there is a dry spell, in which case a two time per week regimen should be implemented. The soil should receive one to two inches of water at a time so that the soil is moist, not soggy.

Maintain Asiatic lilies periodically throughout the summer with a pruning process known as “deadheading.” When the flowers start to wilt, break off the heads. This routine encourages further growth and blooming of the Asiatic lily, and prevents seed production. In order to avoid the contraction of disease, such as Botrytis Blight, dispose of the removed lily petals in the lily bed.

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